Monday, January 3, 2011

And finally the final: West Germany – Holland. July 7, 1974. The Engish refferree Jack Taylor led the teams on the field in front of 75 200 fans:
1 GK Sepp Maier 30 Bayern Munich
2 DF Berti Vogts 27 Borussia Mönchengladbach
3 DF Paul Breitner 22 Bayern Munich
4 DF Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck 26 Bayern Munich
5 DF Franz Beckenbauer (c) 28 Bayern Munich
12 MD Wolfgang Overath 30 1.FC Cologne
16 MD Rainer Bonhof 22 Borussia Mönchengladbach
9 FW Jürgen Grabowski 30 Eintracht Frankfurt
13 FW Gerd Müller 28 Bayern Munich
14 FW Uli Hoeness 22 Bayern Munich
17 FW Bernd Hölzenbein 28 Eintracht Frankfurt

None used.

Coach: Helmut Schön 58

8 GK Jan Jongbloed 33 FC Amsterdam
12 DF Ruud Krol 25 Ajax
17 DF Wim Rijsbergen (-69) 22 Feyenoord
20 DF Wim Suurbier 29 Ajax
2 MD Arie Haan 25 Ajax
3 MD Wim van Hanegem 30 Feyenoord
6 MD Wim Jansen 27 Feyenoord
13 MD Johan Neeskens 22 Ajax
14 FW Johan Cruijff (c) 27 Barcelona (SPA)
15 FW Rob Rensenbrink (-46) 27 RSC Anderlecht (BEL)
16 FW Johnny Rep 22 Ajax

7 MD Theo de Jong (+69) 26 Feyenoord
10 MD Rene van de Kerkhof (+46) 22 PSV Eindhoven
Coach: Rinus Michels 46
Michels fielded his constant and exciting team, and Schon – the squad which won the tough match against Poland. But there was something new – it was clear from the strating whistle that the German coach gambled once again: the left fullback Vogts was personally marking Cruyff, evidently with orders to follow him everywhere, even to the washroom, if needed. It was heavy risk, leaving Rensenbrink on the Dutch left wing dangerously free – and Rensenbrink have been tremendously dangerous in the all previous games. The gamble seemingly was not working… Cruyff rushed inside the German penalty area, Fogts was too late, the Dutch was fouled and it was a penalty. In the 2nd minute of the match!
Cruyff stopped illegally – it seemed to be the only way to stop him.
Neeskens with his trademark penalty kick up near the crossbar in the middle of the net – 1-0 for the Dutch.
It looked like it will be all Dutch to the end of the final – early start and the Oranje did not plan to stop attacking. So far Fogts was helpless against Cruyff – that he continued to mark number 14 looked like the end of West Germany… but gradually things changed. The Germans fought back and started attacking as well, and Vogts visibly was getting the upper hand, neutralizing Cruyff. Nothing was over! In the 25th minute Taylor blew his whistle calling penalty again – but this time at the opposite half of the pitch.
Jansen fouled Holzenbein. Note the German – it was his trademark rush and fall inside any penalty area, crying of pain, arms wide spread. Most of the time there was not any foul and Holzenbein was faking, but this time it was not a provocation – he was really fouled.
Paul Breitner coolly converted the penalty into equalizer – 1-1. The final started anew.
It was entertaining match with both teams attacking and trying to score, but also with capable defences. As minutes ticked away, something was becoming – Schon’s plan not only worked, but the Germans were increasingly becoming the more dangerous team. Fogts entirely neutralized Cryuff.
Cryuff horizontal, but Vogts firmly on his feet – this photo is somewhat symbolic of the clash: the Germans were getting better than the Dutch.
Yet, his teammates constantly passed the ball to him to organize attacks – curiously, Michels did not try to change tactics, and one result was entirely negative: without Cryuff’s creative passes Rensenbrink became useless, although he had no fullback in his area. Why the Dutch did not switch the ball to van Hanegem, a good playmaker himself, is a mystery – most likely overconfidence prevented them from tactical change, or the strong personality of Cruyff stubbornly demanded the ball. Meantime the Germans played strong defense, Beckenbauer carefully commanded his troops, but stayed mostly in defense himself, leaving attack organization to Overath, Bonhof, and Hoeness. The game was fast and often physical, yet not nasty.
Suurbier tackles Overath, but the German already passed the ball.
A classic: Maier saves, Cruyff is deprived from opportunity, and Beckenbauer is already turning in the opposite direction to start a German attack.
As a whole, a good match dedicated to open football, but increasingly the Dutch attacks were becoming predictable, when the Germans were getting more confident and dangerous. Tiny differences were tipping the scales in German favour: Maier was solid as a rock; the defense was organized and calm; the midfield was at least equal to the Dutch, and in attack bloodthirsty sharks – Muller and Holzenbein tormented the Dutch defence. As a result, Haan and Rijsbergen had to stay more back in their own half than usual, thus depriving Dutch attack from surprise. And the best Dutch defensive weapon – the off-side trap – did not work at all against the crafty Germans, very familiar with the said trap and capable of playing on the very edge of off-side. So far Holland prevented danger by off-side traps and their goalkeeper had little to do, but now Jongbloed had to save – and it was crystal clear that he was not good at it. Two minutes before half-time Gerd Muller scored his trademark unattractive goal.
Jongbloed called to action and failing… Muller was Muller, but quite frankly the goalie should have do more than watching the ball crawling into his net. 2-1 for West Germany.
Tensions grew too:
Neeskens and Maier engaged in friendly chat – looks uglier than it was. The match never deteriorated into brutality, not the referee allowed it to go out of hand. Berti Vogts was yellow carded preventively in the 4th minute – Taylor clearly sent the message that he will be in control – and the other three yellow cards were shown to Dutch players – Neeskens and van Hanegem were booked for dangerous fouls, but Cryuff’s booking was rare beauty: as usual, he whined, and complained, and argued, eventually overdoing it – after the end of the first half he continued to ‘present’ his case to Mr. Taylor and was yellow carded – since the offense took place outside the pitch and not in regular playing time, the second half started with the formal booking of the Dutch captain. The public had to guess why, but eventually got the reason. Yet, as a whole, the game was not violent and the referee let it flow in the English fashion: allowing hard tackles and calling only obvious viscious fouls. Although not angels, both teams were more interested in playing football than winning by dirty tricks, but since they were fairly equal the second half produced no goals. Schon was satisfied with his team and did not substituted anybody, but Michels tried to change by substituting disappointing Rensenbrink at half time with Rene van de Kerkhof and later replacing Rijsbergen with Theo de Jong. The two nominal midfielders did not sufficiently improve the Dutch game, though. Later Cruyff never recognized the loss, stubbornly saying that German brawn did not really won over Dutch brain, but his team lost and the Germans were Champions of the World for a second time.
As a whole, it was just final and just result: Holland and West Germany were the best teams at the 1974 World Cup, and the Germans had slightly better football arguments than the Dutch.
Silver Holland: back left to rigt: Jongbloed, Rijsbergen, Haan, Neeskens, Krol, Suurbier.
Bottom: Rep, Cruyff, Rensenbrink, Jansen, van Hanegem.
The sweet response of Schon and company to the constant criticism they endured from the beginning of the tournament – World Champions! Back, left to right: Hottges, Maier, Flohe, Muller, Grabowski, Breitner, Schwarzenbeck, Cullmann.
Front: Nigbur, Hoeness, Heynckes, Bonhof, Schon caressing the Cup with the help of Beckenbauer, Holzenbein, Vogts, Overath.